The question of who’s the greatest shooter of all-time has always been a fun and enjoyable one. Unlike the ‘GOAT’ argument, there hasn’t really been a consensus answer. Some say Larry Bird, others say Ray Allen, while New York Knicks fans passionately reject Reggie Miller as the best, due to obvious reasons. Kyle Korver, who was drafted in 2003, is still playing today due to his elite shooting ability, which is an ability you don’t lose with age, unlike speed, agility or playing defense in his case.
Since 2009, two new names have entered the conversation of who’s the best shooter of all time. Those two names are Golden State Warriors teammates Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Steph was drafted in 2009 while Klay in 2011 and they’ve wreaked havoc on the league ever since. Both averaged over 40% from three in their first season in the league. They were subsequently coined as the ‘Splash Brothers’ for their ability to shoot threes at a high clip.
The revolution of the league into a three-point league has been largely credited to Curry. The February 27, 2013 game against the Knicks, where Curry scored 54 points including 11-from-13 behind the arc, is seen by many as a turning point. NBA fans bore witness and continue to see the unprecedented growth of the three since. Oracle Arena has since been somewhat of a circus show on a regular occurrence with the performances Curry and Thompson have put on.
Curry, who shoots a staggering 48% from 30-35 feet in his career, is already third on the list of most three-point field goals made in league history, behind Reggie Miller and Ray Allen. To put it in perspective, Ray Allen played 18 years in the league and has almost 1,000 more three-point attempts than Curry, who’s played 10 years and is less than 100 three-pointers made behind Allen. This shows not only the high clip that Curry shoots from three but the volume of threes Curry is taking and, in turn, the sheer amount that teams in the NBA shoot threes in the modern game.
Twenty-six teams in the league shoot at least 28 threes per game, and at the top of that list is the Houston Rockets, who shot a staggering 45 threes a game, 11 more than Golden State Warriors, who possess the greatest snipers in the league today.
Klay Thompson, who hit nine threes against Houston in last year’s playoffs (third-most threes made in NBA playoff history) is the best catch and shoot player in the league, averaging almost 44% from threes in those situations. While Curry is the ballhandler and gets his threes in various ways, Klay doesn’t touch the ball much in comparison, notoriously making an NBA record 14 threes this past season against the Chicago Bulls with just five dribbles. Thompson can also go off at any point; prior to his performance against the Bulls, he was five-of-36 from beyond the arc. You just never know when Klay is going to pop.
A knock on Steph is despite his still impressive numbers during the playoffs; his career average 43% behind the arc during the regular season dips to 40% in the playoffs. While Klay averages 41% in both the regular season and the playoffs. The consistency in Klay’s number illustrates his model consistency on the floor and his lack of emotion on the court which gives him a cool head in fiery situations such as Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals, where he hit an NBA Playoff record 11 threes against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Both players will top the record books when they’re done and while Steph is the consensus greatest shooter of all time, Klay will continue to be a worthy adversary in those conversations and a reliable teammate on the court as they chase a fourth championship in the new Chase Center.
A new beginning is rising in San Francisco, where the Splash Brothers will wreak havoc once again.